Other Homemade Cleaners

Guest Post from Julia Young

Additional Cleaners


Not everything for cleaning is narrowed down to either laundry, kitchen, bathroom, or floors. There are some items that needed to dust, clean windows, and all those other little things that aren’t in the kitchen or bathroom.


Wood Dusting Spray

1/3 cup water

2 Tbsp Murphy’s Oil
10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well. Spray and immediately clean with a microfiber cloth.


Window Cleaner

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

10 drops of lemon essential oil


Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well. Spray and wipe clean with microfiber cloth.


Wall Cleaner

1 cups water

3/4 cup white vinegar

10 drops of essential oil of your choice (I use orange because it helps with removing sticky residue.


Combine all ingredients in a small bucket and stir to combine. Using a clean sponge, ring out excess soultion and wipe the area to be treated. Remember to avoid water drip lines work from the bottom up.


Fabric-Freshener Spray

1 cup water

2 tsp unflavored vodka or witch hazel

1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

5 drops of essential oil of choice


Combine ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well until cornstarch or arrowroot powder has dissolved. Spray 6-8 inches of fabric or carpet. Shake between uses.


Additional Air Freshener Tricks

  • Combine baking soda and a little lemon juice (or a few drops of essential oil)  in decorative dish or bowl to absorb household odors and freshener the air.
  • Add spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or rosemary with a couple apple, orange, or lemon slices and water to a pan on the stove. Simmer on the stove, adding water periodically so that the mixture doesn’t burn.





Guest Post by Julia Young: Homemade Laundry Cleaners

Doing the Laundry

Laundry is that dreaded task that one does every day in order to keep clean clothes in the house, which isn’t always possible with little ones. When I was using store bought cleaners, I felt like I ran out of laundry detergent every time I turned around. Every grocery trip seemed to result in me picking up a new bottle. Now I make a batch of detergent twice a year, and this is with me having an all-boy three-year-old.

 Liquid Laundry Detergent

I use the Duggar’s family recipe (with one change) which is easy to find online.

4 Cups hot tap water
1 bar of Kirk’s Castile Soap, grated (the Duggar recipe use Fels-Naptha, but if you look up the ingredients on that you will find it is not very natural)
1 Cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

Combine grated bar of soap and water in a saucepan. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken. Once again do some stirring and fill a used, clean, milk jug half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use (contents will gel). Add 10-15 drops of essential per 2 gallons. Recipe yields 10 gallons of detergent. To put in perspective, one gallon of homemade laundry detergent is roughly three store bought detergents.

Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

As with all other homemade cleaning soaps, you will not see the suds commercial cleaners have. Remember it’s the ingredients – not the suds – that clean.


Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 bar of Kirk’s Castile Soap, grated

1 cup washing soda

1 cup Borax

1 cup powered bleach (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a container. Make sure you stir thoroughly, for best results use a food processor. Use about 1tablespoon for lite loads and 2 tablespoons for heavy loads. You can add essential oil to this by adding 10 drops to the washing soda and mixing before combining all ingredients.


Fabric Softener

8 cups water

6 cups white vinegar

1 cup baking soda

20 drops essential oil of choice

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Remember to slowly add the vinegar and baking soda together, unless you want to make a volcano mess. Shake before each use and add ½ cup to rinse cycle. To store this, you can use an old vinegar or fabric softener bottle.


Stain Pre-treater

½  cup baking soda

1 cup water

½ cup hydrogen peroxide

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle. (Do not use a clear bottle as light causes hydrogen peroxide to break down.) Put pre-treater on the spot, fold the clothing on top of itself, and wait 20 minutes. Wash as usual.


Stain Remover Tricks

  • If you are in a pinch, you can use pure 3% hydrogen peroxide on the stain. Hydrogen peroxide works as a bleach, so test a small unseen part of your clothing to make sure it doesn’t damage the color. I have never had any problems using it on all colors, but wanted to make you aware that it can cause damage.
  • If you have a stain that won’t go away try hanging your garment out in sun. The sun acts as a natural bleacher. This is a great way to get your whites looking white.


Cloth Diaper Cleaner (for those of us with little people)

1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

1/2 cup of OxiClean Free

Combine all ingredients in a container. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. If your diapers still smell unclean, try adding more detergent or use an extra rinse cycle. This recipe will not remove all stains, but put your diapers out in the sun for some super awesome sun bleaching to get them white again.




Guest Post by Christina Levy

Hey Everyone!

Lets start this thing with a little something so you know what I’m all about shall we?

My name is Christina and I run a business called Life of Haiti. I grew up in a Haitian household, and last year I had the opportunity to mix my passion for missions + my love for Haiti. I was lucky enough to share my amazing experience with my mom, and boyfriend James (You might know him from a few posts he wrote earlier this year – “Keychains and Pinterest”)

After coming back home from our mission trip, I had Haiti on my mind ALL THE TIME! There was this pull inside me to help make immediate change happen down there. Something that would be more than just a week of my summer vacation each year.

After lots of tossing and turning, I decided to partner up with James and publish an illustrated magazine – Life of Haiti – This magazine would tell the personal stories of the Haitian people. The best part is aside from business costs, the money would go to support organizations in Haiti who are making change happen in the little country that I love so much.

Click Here Banner crop

So that right there is a quick summary behind Life of Haiti. OH, I forgot to mention, there is a lot of design when it comes to Designing a Magazine. Design was something I knew absolutely NOTHING about – I had to learn it from scratch.

This is where it gets good and I tell you guys how I learned to simplify my life in order to keep myself sane + massively productive.

What did I do to make this happen you ask? I Minimalized my Life.

What does that do? – You ask amazing questions! In my case, Minimalizing my Life was as simple as organizing/cleaning up the area where I planned on being most productive. (i.e. my computer’s desktop.) By doing this, I could focus on getting to the task at hand instead of getting stressed by the clutter. I minimalized my desktop by having a simple background and maybe 2 folders (the ones I would be working out of the most.) Doing that made my work time more streamlined, productive, and it minimalized the stress I had while I went through the stressful process of learning how to design a magazine in a month. (I only had a month to do it because that was how long my winter break was and I couldn’t focus on Life of Haiti AND school)

My KEY POINT in this is to make life simpler for you and the people around you by minimalizing your life.

So here is some Homework for you – it’s not going to be that bad I promise.
I want you to take sometime and minimalize your work space/creative area BEFORE you get to your task. The key word here is BEFORE – this won’t work if you do it after.

What does this look like for you? For my mom, it is the kitchen sink. There CAN NOT be dishes in the sink if she is cooking, or while she is cooking. For me, it is keeping my desktop clear. For you, it might be having tons of folders on it, but you know where everything is.

When you minimalize your life, the best part is that it is unique to you and no one else, because no one ticks the same way you do. So lets hear it! How do you minimalize your life?

Homemade Floor Cleaners, Guest Post by Julia

Guest Post from Julia Young


Making Your Floors Shine


I really only have four simple recipes to cleaning your floors. There usually isn’t an overabundance of different floor cleaning methods, so the natural solutions are pretty simple.


Carpets generally need a deodorizer like something Arm and Hammer makes with added smell good, or they need something to remove a stain.


Carpet Deodorizer

½ cup of baking soda

8-10 drops of essential oil of your choice


Combine ingredients and sprinkle on floor. Wait 15 minutes and vacuum.


Carpet Stain Remover

½ cup of white vinegar

½ cup of water


Combine in spray bottle. Always blot your stain first until no more can be lifted. Spray on the solution and let sit for 10 minutes. Clean the stain gently with a sponge, brush, washcloth, etc. and warm water. This works for furniture too! If you have light colored carpet try Hydrogen Peroxide.


With tile, laminate, hardwood, and all other kinds of non-carpet floors something to use with a mop with is needed. I typically don’t use a traditional mop and bucket, but all of these recipes can be adjusted to be used as such. I prefer the Rubbermaid Reveal mop which has a removable cloth pad and a chamber where I can place a bottle with the pre-mixed solution, thus creating a squirt and mop job.


Hardwood Floor Cleaner

2 cups of water

2 cups of vinegar

20 drops of the essential oil of your choice

Combine ingredients in a squirt bottle, shake, and mop with your squirt and go mop.


Tile Floor Cleaner (I use this on more than just tile, but not on wood)

3½  cups of water

½ of white vinegar

3-4 drops of castile soap

5 drops of essential oil of your choice


Combine in a squirt bottle, shake, and mop with your squirt and go mop.

Guest Post by Julia Young: Natural Bathroom Cleaners

Keeping a Bathroom Clean Naturally

The bathroom is the place that we like to clean ourselves, but it is also one of the most germ-y places in our house. Keeping it clean is of the utmost importance, especially when you have young, barely potty-trained boys in your home. There are a ton of bathroom cleaning recipes online that will promise you scrubbing power, disinfectant power, or whatever cleaning power you are after. I have bought many spray bottles to try all these different formulas but have found only a handful that I like and use regularly. Many of the online recipes for cleaners with scrubbing power call for ingredients that settle in the spray bottle and do not remix well. The best items to use for scrubbing are baking soda and vinegar.  From experience I have found that if you are using baking soda and vinegar regularly, it is easier to keep shaker of baking soda and spray bottle of vinegar handy. If you are making a batch to use as a one time deal then mix before use.

Daily Shower Spray

  • 4 oz of liquid castile soap (you can buy Dr. Bohnner’s brand at Kroger in the organic section or make your own by grating some castile soap, adding some water (10 cups for a full bar), and melting it in a large pot. Let the mixture sit for a day before using)
  • 16 oz of rubbing alcohol or 80-100 proof clean grain alcohol (I use vodka when making mine since the smell isn’t that strong.)
  • Enough water to make a gallon

Combine all these ingredients in a spray bottle. After each shower, I squeegee down the walls and spray this on my shower. This is what I also use to clean my bathroom sink, counter, and toilet surface.

Mold Killer

  • ½ cup of hydrogen proxide
  • 1 cup of water
  • 6 drops of essential oil of your choice

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray area was mold has formed, allow to sit for a few hours, rinse with water.

Toilet Bomb

  • ¼ cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice (I prefer Tea Tree as it smells like a bathroom cleaner to me)

Carefully combine baking soda and vinegar, then add essential oil. Kids love making this one so if have little ones this a great way to get them involved. Make sure you give a stir before pouring into the toilet as the baking soda will sometimes settle at the bottom. Pour contents into toilet, let sit a minute, and scrub.

Keep your toilet fresh and proactively clean by adding ½ cup of white vinegar to your tank once a week. Let the vinegar sit for 30 minutes and flush.

 Drain Cleaner

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 ½ cups of white vinegar
  • pot of boiling water

Pour baking soda slowly down the drain (you can use a little vinegar if it’s not moving). Pour salt, then slowly pour vinegar (you may need to use the handle of a wooden spoon to push the mixture along). Wait 15-20 minutes before flushing with the boiling water.

A couple of quick cleaning tricks. If your shower head has stopped up, fill up a baggie of with white vinegar, place on shower head using a rubber band, and let sit for an hour. Clean shower head with a wet cloth. To scrub the shower or sink, use some baking soda and vinegar for that scrubbing action. If you need to quick toilet clean keep a shaker of baking soda and a spray bottle of vinegar in your bathroom. Sprinkle some baking soda in the toilet, spray with vinegar, let sit a minute, and scrub. With any of these quick cleaning techniques you can add essential oil to make it smell better. Add the oil to the baking soda for constant freshness or add it as you scrub.

Homemade Cleaners – a guest post by Julia Young

Cleaning The Kitchen Naturally

Recently Lynne posted a homemade and natural way to clean your sink. So, based on the fact that I seem to be the person she knows that uses the most homemade cleaners, I was asked to write a post or two (or three) about natural cleaning products.

I have not always used natural cleaners and, like many of you my think, I thought that without Clorox something could not be cleaned. Of course, I was wrong. Three years ago when my son was born, my loving parents made me throw out all my nasty, harsh, chemical cleaners in favor of the Seventh Generation “natural” brand. Seventh Generation is a wonderful brand and far more natural than Mr. Clean; however, because of the USDA organic guidelines not being as strict as they should be, it is still not as natural as making your own cleaners. Plus it costs an arm and leg with hardly any coupons available.

When I started thinking about what I would do if my son got a hold of one of those cleaning bottles, I completely freaked out and immediately started researching how to make my own stuff. I did not want to have to think about what chemicals accidentally got on – – or worse IN – my child. I now use my own homemade natural products for everything cleaning wise. By “natural” I mean that I use nothing that can be found on the cleaning aisle except Murphy’s Oil, washing soda and Borax as each of these are naturally derived products.

To aid you in your natural cleaning experience, I thought I would start with a room that most of the ingredients can be found, the kitchen. I have two cleaners that get used in my kitchen the most:  my all-purpose cleaner and a disinfectant. I have tried a myriad of other things but these two are tried and true in my house. Here are the “recipes.”

All-Purpose Cleaner:    Soak some orange peels in white vinegar for 2 weeks (I usually use two-three oranges and a 1.5 cups of vinegar). After soaking,  add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Add essential oil of choice.     Place all ingredients in a spray bottle.

Disinfectant:  Mix 2 cups of hot water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of Borax (I know this isn’t usually found in your kitchen cabinets but go ahead and get some you will need it to make your own laundry detergent). Add essential oil of your choice .    Place all ingredients in a spray bottle.

If you are a fan of Clorox disinfectant wipes, you can make those too! Just get some old shirts, take some scissors to them, put them in a air tight container (I use an old baby wipes box) and add 1 cup of water, ½ teaspoon of liquid castile soap, and essential oil of choice.

I also make my own dish liquid. I don’t have a dish washer, so I haven’t researched a good homemade recipe for that.

Homemade Dish Liquid: 1 bar of castile soap  (Kirk’s Original is the best  and you can find it usually on the bottom shelf of the soap aisle ( it is coconut oil soap thus meeting my natural requirement.), 1 tablespoon of washing soda (once again this is an item you need to make your own laundry detergent), 1 cup of white vinegar, roughly 1 gallon of water, and 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Grate your bar of soap. Add grated soap and ½ gallon of water to large pot and heat until the soap is melted. Do not boil the liquid. Add washing soda and stir until it dissolves. Add vinegar, essential oil, rest of water which is about 1 cup less than a ½ gallon. Allow the mixture to cool and transfer it to a container.  I usually use an old milk jug for storing it. Allow it to cure one day before using. Take an old dish liquid container and add your homemade stuff to it. Remember to shake before each use. Don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t bubble up as it shouldn’t. If you find too much of a soapy residue on your dishes, add more vinegar to your soap.

A quick word about essential oils since I mentioned them in all my recipes. Essential oils have anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. You can make all of these kitchen cleaners without them but they won’t have that extra cleaning whammy or the nice smell of the oils. For my oils, I personally use DoTerra products as their oils are “therapeutic grade,” meaning they can be used aromatically, topically, or internally. Most essential oil brands state on their label that they are for aromatic use only which doesn’t solve the problem of what happens if the cleaners get on or in my child.  (If you are interested in finding DoTerra oils you can contact me and I will gladly hook you up with some of your own.)

Next week I will go over the scary bathroom.

Life is short! Go live it!

Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.

I think we all have at times had someone tell us life is short! I think we all get that!But do we live like that? Let me tell you a little about what has been going on in my life the past couple months. My dad who has diabetes and has a lot of health issues had to have a major surgery which has him now in a nursing home. He has a hard time with reality because of another dreaded disease that so many have.

Now fast forward to Thursday morning 8:30 A.M. I get a text from my youngest son’s girlfriend that said ” I just got hit my a Semi but I am okay.” We are praising God that she is okay but all these events in my life keep reminding me to invest in the people in front of me for one day they will not know you because Alzheimer’s or because someone didn’t have as much time as we thought they would here on this earth.

I am sure you all can think back to similar events in your life. Let’s live with no regrets. Spend time with the people who mean the most to you. Reach out to someone who is lonely and needs a friend. We don’t know what tomorrow brings but let’s live today like it is the person we loves last.

Look around you right now…. Is your family gathered around you while you are on Facebook?
When you go out to eat with friends do you always have your phone out doing social media? How available are you when you have family or friends who want to do something with you? Is it hard to find time to spend with God?

My challenge to you today is when you find yourself sitting around family and friends put down the electronic devices and engage with your family. One day you will be very thankful and they will too.

I also challenge you to spend some of that time that you are on social media with God instead.

And if you can find time to spend on Facebook, you can find time to spend with your family and friends. Just saying…

A month ago I stepped away from social media all together. Not asking you to do that unless you want to but I will say it was amazing how much more time I had and because I wasn’t reading what everyone else was doing I really wanted to know what the people around me were doing.

Please understand I am not telling you to do what I did but I am challenging you to find balance and if you can’t balance it to stop it. Don’t let social media become more important than your top five priorities.

So, where do you need to step back and where do you need to invest more?

By Teresa

Shout Out to Lynne who is doing a Marathon this morning. Good Luck! Dear Friend! We are all so proud of you for setting a goal and reaching it!!!

Guest Post from Shante Butler: Kids’ Party Ideas

Kids’ Party Ideas

Spring is coming and this week I want to talk about saving money while still celebrating birthdays. I have three kids (20, 18, 16) and they were talking the other day about how much they loved their birthday celebrations growing up. We never went to Chuck-E Cheese or had big grand birthday parties, but they were still memorable.

Most of the family rules about birthdays were centered around the expense. So first I want to say that I never spent more than $100 on my kids’ birthday parties. The years that they got a party were the years they did not recieve a gift from me, and everybody had a birthday party about every other year or so. The first rule of birthday parties at my house is that you can only have eight people, including the birthday person, at the party. The reason for this is to ensure that everything we do from this point can be done as nicely and cheaply as possible.

First, pick a theme. We chose obscure themes that didn’t have a theme party plate for it yet. We did Sponge Bob and Yu-gi-oh parties long before the plates were widely available. We did a Madden football tournament party for my eldest, a candy themed party for my daughter, an Army party for my youngest, just to name a few. Choose a party that has a specific color theme because colored paper plates are cheaper than theme plates. Once you have a theme in mind, decorate the table and just the room the table is in with streamers, blown up balloons, and such. There are lots of pictures and websites to give you ideas on how to decorate using these items.

The next thing to talk about is the food. If the kids are having enough fun at the party, they will not really want to eat, so I always served hot dogs, potato salad, and chips at every party. I always made punch and served it in small cups with the child’s name written on it. Next thing is the cake. I suggest that instead of buying a themed cake from a grocery store or bakery, you make a 9″ circle cake or 9 by 13″ sheet cake at home, frost it, go to the store and buy miniature toys of the theme, pop them on  top of the cake, and now you a themed cake.

Finally, the fun part: The games. The games should be theme specific. One year my youngest was obsessed with everything military so he had an Army party. I had a neighbor come over dressed in his fatigues and got the kids to do push ups, sit ups, and march around the house. They all knew Brian, but they had to “sir, no sir” him, and when they “graduated” they marched around the front lawn doing a sound off while the parents waved and cheered. It was loads of fun. All of our parties lasted for no longer than two hours and were usually between the hours of 2pm – 4pm. Why? Two hour parties insure two hours of complete fun with no lulls and the time frame was so that the kids would come to the party right after lunch.
We always did a theme-related craft at the beginning of the party to give the kids something to do while everyone is arriving. It lets the kids and the parents see that this is not going to be a “free for all, running around like a mad person” kind of party. We are organized and we are going to have fun. The craft can be something small and fun.

Please feel free to post other inexpensive party ideas. I hope to see photos of joyful birthdays. I’ll see you guys next time.

Shante Butler

Guest Post by Shante Butler: Budget Ideas #2

Today’s money saving post is about a sensitive issue. Some people will be open to the ideas posted here and some will not. This is something that I have been practicing for the past ten or so years and this money saving tip alone has saved me hundreds of dollars each year. I am talking about cutting off your cable or satellite television. Now, before I start talking about how much you are going to save, let’s think about all of the trash TV that is out there. Honey Boo Boo. Enough said.

Let’s think about a world where you can expose your kids to classic TV shows like Rocky and Bullwinkle, Buck Rodgers, and Hawaii 5-O while still watching current shows like Sponge Bob, Heroes, and Law and Order, and of course, a great list of movies. This magical world exists on Netflix. I am in no way affiliated with or own stock in Netflix – though that sounds like a good idea right now. The power of Netflix gives you the freedom to turn off the trash TV that you are paying $50 to $100 for each month, and replace that bill with one that is about $8 a month. That is about $42 to $92 in savings a month or $504 – $1,104 a year! Don’t get pulled in by their fancy packages that give you DVD rentals. You can go to your local library and borrow as many DVDs as often as you like for free.
This is one of the many ways in which I use to save money and add money into that good ol’ savings account. I am really excited to share all of my tips with everyone. Have a great Friday.

Shante Butler

Budgeting – Guest Post #1 from Shante Butler

I have been asked to be a guest writer for some money savings posts for Simplify 2013. As my pastor likes to say before some of his sermons, “Just because I am talking about this issue, does not make me an expert.” My goal is to share money-saving tips that I personally use.

I promise that I will never suggest that you remove something from your budget without giving you a replacement for that item. The purpose of saving is not to go without or to starve yourself of the things you love. In the next few weeks, we can encourage each other to declutter our homes and “clutter up” our savings accounts instead.

First let me tell you that one of the things I don’t do is coupon. Not that I have anything against using coupons; it is the clutter that extreme couponing promotes. Between all of newspapers you have to collect, the myriads of coupons you have to keep organized, and the 20 cans of ketchup you have to buy in order to get a good deal, I’m not sure which drives me crazy the most.

A better budgeting idea is to cook your meals at home – from scratch. (Yes, from scratch.) I propose that instead of buying quick, ready-made foods that most coupons promote, you buy staple food items. For example, the cost of flavored instant oatmeal is much higher than a canister of quick oats. Plus, quick oats are much better for you, and you can add your own flavor to them, like cinnamon, apples, honey, etc. Rice, potatoes, flour, eggs, sugar, dry beans, and dry noodles/pasta — all of these dietary staples can be found at incredibly cheap prices. These items are the base of a majority of typical American meals and in almost every frozen and prepared dish you can buy. If you have any questions about what to replace your prepackaged foods with, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer your question(s).

If you feel like you don’t have time to start a meal from scratch, I can tell you that cooking a proper meal from scratch only takes about 20 to 30 minutes. As a suggestion, here’s a wonderful website that I use full of great recipes using only ingredients you probably have at home already. The web address is http://www.laurainthekitchen.com. (I am in no way affiliated with or personally know the people connected to this site.)

For the prepackaged foods we all feel we must have – such as our kids’ favorite cereal – you can buy the store brand. Often, in my opinion, it is the best tasting brand in the store. I limit my kids to one box of cereal per week per person because you should be eating food for breakfast, not a sweet sugary snack.

I hope that this week’s post will get you thinking about cooking more meals and saving more money. No more looking for the best coupons for select items or looking in the newspaper for what is on sale for the week. Make grocery shopping fun. Go with a friend that has the same cooking goals as you. Post pictures of your home cooked meals. Tell us how much you think the meal cost. See you next time.